Sunday, December 30, 2007

Missionary Support Letter

As the New Year quickly approaches I am reminded yet again how long I have been trying to adopt Nicolae and Cristian. It has been a little over four years now. The reality of this is almost hard to believe. However, living in a foreign country, learning a foreign language, living far from my friends and family, makes the reality of my journey very clear.
I would have never imagined that one day that I would be living in Romania. In fact, I have asked myself, and God, many times, “why do I have to live in Romania to adopt?” I still don’t have all the answers, but I do know that God has me in Romania for a reason.
I know that living in Romania is the only way I can adopt Nicolae and Cristian. It also gives me the opportunity to work with children in need. I am still working at the hospital and have recently starting teaching Sunday school at Calvary Chapel Bucharest. And possibly the most important thing about living in Romania, is that it has caused me to put my faith and hope in God like I have never done before.

As many of you know, the adoption actually looks like it is going to happen. Praise God! In fact, Nicolae and Cristian should start living with me sometime in late January, early February. And if everything goes as planned, we may actually be home in the states, as a family, sometime during the summer. What a glorious day that will be!

However, in order to continue living in Romania so that I can adopt Nicolae and Cristian, I have had to file for a leave of absence from my teaching job. Which means, that I no longer have an income. I’d be lying, if I didn’t say that it scares me just a bit… ok… more than just a bit. And the whole depending on others thing, I am still working on that too. It is a huge Leap of Faith for sure, but not as scary as it may have been for me in the past. Over these last several years I have learned (and I am still learning) to depend on God, and that it is ok for me to reach out and ask others for help as well. James 4:2...We have not because we ask not.

So I am asking:

  • I am asking for you to continue to pray for me and all that I still need to accomplish in adopting Nicolae and Cristian.
  • Pray for my family at home. I know this is hard on them too. Please pray that God would keep all of them safe and healthy. I love them so much.
  • Pray that God will continue to guide me and give me strength throughout all of this. To rest in the comfort of Him and know that He will meet all of my needs.
  • Pray too that I would continue to make progress in learning Romanian and that Nicolae, Cristian and I will bond quickly as a family.
  • Pray for the simple everyday things that seem so much harder in Romania.

Beyond your prayers, if you are led to support me financially, I would be forever grateful. I truly believe that this is a journey that God has called me to and I would greatly appreciate any level of support you are able to offer. You can send your donations to:

Beta's Blessings

8412 Siesta Way

Louisville, KY. 40219

Please make sure to designate your gift to Debbie Vaughn’s Missionary Support.

FYI…Beta’s Blessings is a non-profit organization that was started by Karen Barrentine. She started this organization specifically for children of Romania. Beta is the name of her daughter in Romania. Karen is currently living in Romania and is still trying to adopt as well.

You will receive a record of your giving at the end of the 2008 year. For those who want a tax write off for this year 2007, simply post mark your donation before December 31, 2007.

I want to thank you in advance for your prayers and your financial support.

May God bless you and your family!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I am feeling better!

What a difference a day makes...and some antibiotics. I am feeling much better this morning.
Not perfect yet, but I am better for sure.
Thanks for all your prayers!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I nam sic!

I nam sic anb I bon't fel wel!. I hab a colb. Pwease Pway por me. Aaaachooo!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Heading home today!

Today is the day! I am so happy to be coming home for Christmas. I will leave here is a few hours. I can't wait to see my family and hopefully I will see some friends as well.
I spent last night with Nicolae and the day before with Cristian. We had a "pre-Christmas"
Craciun Fericit si La Multi Ani. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A simple blessing ...zapada

Tonight I went to the Women's Bible Study. It was so tempting to just stay home because it was very cold and rainy outside. Plus, it is an hour trek for me. However, I forced myself to go. I was so glad I did. We spent the time singing and praying. It was nice.
When it was over, I donned all my cold weather garb and my umbrella...ready to trudge on back home....another hour trek.
Dar...zapada afara! It had snowed and what a beautiful sight it was. It made my trip home so enjoyable.
Anyway...just wanted to share. Sometimes the littlest of things can be such great blessing.

Cristian's Christmas performance December 13, 2007

Today was Cristian's school Christmas performance. It was very cute. They sang some songs, all the kids read poems, and of course Mos Craciun(Santa) came too. It lasted just about an hour.

The lady in the picture is Cristian's kindergarten teacher. I love the om de zapada (Frosty the snowman) and the little Mos Craciun was pretty adoable too.
I learned a lot about Cristian during this performance...academically. No, he is not at the top of his class either in height or academically. Watching him perform today was very telling. hmmmm.
However, he was very well behaved and so adorable.
Afterwards we went back to his house and hung out for a while. Ani, his foster mom fed me lunch. Yum...Snitzel and mashed potatoes. I left around 2 this afternoon.

Tomorrow I will see Cristian again for the last time before heading back to the states. I want to give him his Christmas gift. He and his foster family are going to the countryside again this weekend to kill a pig. It is a Romanian tradition. Lots of families from the countryside do this.
I will see Nicolae on Saturday.

3 more days until I head back home... Merry Christmas to me!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The DPC Christmas "party"!?

Today was the DPC Christmas Party. It was interesting to say the least. They had it at a high school in the auditorium.

First, they had a puppet show. They did Little Red Riding Hood. Unfortunately, you couldn't hear the narrator and besides that, ladies were walking around the whole time calling out names and then handing papers to all the foster parents. It was so distracting.

When Santa Claus did come in, he came in from the back and walked up to the front and then up on the stage. Of course all the kids ran to him when they saw him. Such a natural response and so cute. Some of the kids even followed him up on stage. Nicolae was one of those kids. Yee hah. But I did get an adorable picture of him with Santa. Nicolae was so excited. He hugged Santa and even kissed Santa. It was adorable. I am glad I took the picture when I did.

Right after I took the picture of Nicolae, all the kids got sent back to their seats. It was time for the presents. I thought...great they will all get to sit with Santa, I can take pictures of Nicolae and Cristian. Nope!
They, the people who were in charge, simply called the foster mom's names and handed them plastic bags with the unwrapped gifts in them and that was it. The foster moms each left immediately after being called. It was weird.
So Santa was on stage....why? hmmm
Outside the foster moms were all comparing what their foster child got vs. the other kids. Luckily the foster moms themselves all got the same gift. So it did cut down on some of the complaining.
It was just weird.
Oh and then their was the Nicolae and Cristian saga. Yikes. When we first got there Nicolae was not happy to see Cristian at all. He went on and on about how much he didn't like him, that he didn't want to be his brother etc. Nicolae had a melt down. He cried, got mad. It was ugly.

Apparently, Cristian hit Nicolae at the infamous DPC meeting. I think they actually hit each other a few times during their wild moments of running around the house. However, I got Cristian to apologize to Nicolae for hitting him and then things got much better. Thank God. It was awkward to be sitting there with Cristian on one side with his foster mom and Nicolae on the other with his. It is just an odd experience.

Then to add to the moment, Carmen, Nicolae's foster mom, sat forward in her chair and laid her head on the chair in front of her during the puppet show. Like she was sleeping or totally bored with the whole event. Sheeshh...Anyway, I was glad when it was over.

Outside the auditorium there was a Christmas tree. I really wanted to get some pictures of the boys together and I was hoping to get a couple of pictures with all three of us, but that didn't happen. Carmen was more worried about getting outside to smoke and Ani wasn't feeling well. So...I was thrilled with the one picture I did get.

Afterwards, I went with Nicolae to his house. Nicolae and I got to spend lots of time together. I actually spent 7hrs. with him today. We put his new car garage together and we also worked on his Scooby Doo puzzle. It was wonderful getting to spend time together...just the two of us. Carmen hung out in the other room.

Tomorrow I will see Cristian again He has his school performance. Yay.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunt Fericita!

My visit with Cristian went very well today. This is my third visit since the Big DPC visit with Nicoale and Cristian.
Cristian a fost foarte cuminte azi! He was very well behaved today!
It was so cute. I had called his house last night to confirm my coming and visiting today and you could hear Cristian saying in the background, "Mama Debbie mi-e fost doar de tine." (Mama Debbie I have been missing you). He said it today too when I saw him He even gave me a hug when I walked in. It was a great day.
I wasn't sure how it would go today, because on my last visit with him(last Friday), he was a not so well behaved. He got mad because I wasn't leaving the "Bunica" cards with him. Actually, he was a poop. He treated his foster mom badly. He talked back to her, he hit her, he was a real poop. I hated it. It was a yucky experience.
He knew though that I wasn't happy with his behavior at all and that I wasn't about to give into his tantrum. He was definitely doing the "hey I didn't get my way" behavior. Yuck...not a pretty site So, after Friday's visit, I wasn't sure how he would be today. To my happy surprise, he was very glad to see me. And...when I got ready to leave, he even helped me put the cards back into my backpack. Signs of progress.

I think it will just take some time to figure each other out and realize what the boundaries are. Like I told Bev, my number one goal right now isn't that he likes me. My number one goal is for Cristian to know that I expect him to behave and that he must treat people with respect. The like, love will come.

Anyway, I am very happy with how my visit went with Cristian today. And...I get to see both boys tomorrow. The DPC is having a Christmas party for all the foster children in Sector 2 and I get to go! Yay.

On my way home tonight, I stopped at Piata Unirii and took a couple of pictures of "The" Christmas tree. It is the largest decorated/man made tree in Europe. If you look at the pine trees in the foreground, it will give you some perspective on just how tall the tree really is.

5 more day until I head home to the states!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another fun photo

Hello all...just wanted to share another fun photo...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

An incredible evening with Nicolae

First of all, I love my new hat. Carmen, Nicolae's foster mom, gave it to me as a gift on Mos Nicolae Day. My hat is exactly like Nicolae's. I made sure I brought it with me tonight. Click...definitely a Kodak moment!

I had the most wonderful evening with Nicolae tonight. When I first arrived, I got to spend about 30 minutes alone with him. It was so nice to have some one on one time. He is very patient with me and it is so adorable how he runs through all of his English words. He is so cute too when he teaches me Romanian. He even quizzes me later on. I love it. We played "Old Maid", which we call "Bunica". Bunica means grandmother in Romanian. He is such a smart little boy. He is finally learning how to put and hold the cards in his hand by himself too.

We also played Uno, and considering it was me trying to explain the rules of this game to him by myself...he did very well.
After we got done playing cards, we ate together. I never, ever pass up a meal in Romania. Tonight Carmen made chicken and rice. Yum.
For desert we ate some of the Christmas sugar cookies I made. It was my first time for making them. My sister Teri would be proud. I even took a picture for evidence. The bread is Cozonac. It is a traditional Romanian holiday sweet bread.

We played Uno one more time with Marius, which was nice. He re-explained the rules to Nicolae. Explaining the wild cards, reverse and skip cards was very tricky by myself. However, I was actually surprised how much Nicolae had figured out from when I "taught" him. Especially with my "less than perfect" Romanian.

Then it was Nicolae's bath time. I actually got to be there for this. Yay.
Bubble bath and all. Carmen treated me as if I had never given a bath before, but that is ok. I loved every minute of it. Of course I took pictures!

Nicole was so sweet and so well behaved tonight. My heart was smiling the whole evening. What a precious little boy. I am going to see him again on Wednesday in the afternoon.

Another cute moment...when I was leaving, he blew me a kiss. I caught it and stuck it in my pocket. The smile on his face was so precious. Then he said "Good night Mama Debbie. I love you". It was a wonderful walk home, red hat and all.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Today is Saint Nicolae Day

Today is Saint Nicolae Day.

The old Saint Nicholas arrives in Romania on the 6th of December, every year. His coming announces the beginning of the winter holidays, the Christmas and the New Year.
Saint Nicholas is generous not only with the children, but the adults, too.
On the evening of the 5th of December, the boots are being happily polished in every home. People usually put the boots near the entrance door, waiting for the presents.
Saint Nicholas takes care of each member of the family. He puts a little present into every one's boots.
But who is Saint Nicholas? The parents, of course.
And who is the one who puts presents in the parents' boots? The rest of family.
This custom is very old in Romania, and Saint Nicholas Day is one of the most important festivals of the year, especially for the children.

All that is known of Nicholas is that he was Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor during the 4th century. Legend tells how a noble but poor man was thinking of prostituting his three daughters because he was unable to provide them with a dowry. Nicholas threw three golden balls or bags of gold through the window of their house and withdrew unseen, thereby saving them from their fate.

Once, seamen threatened by a violent storm invoked Nicholas, and he appeared, and assisted them with the rigging until the storm died down.
When famine spread through his bishopric, Nicholas learned that several ships were anchored in the harbour laden with grain. The saint promised the fearful sailors that if they gave the grain to his starving people, the customs men would not find their cargo short. Nicholas was also said to have saved three soldiers from decapitation; had an innocent prince released from prison; and brought to life three children hidden in a brine
tub who had been murdered by their innkeeper father to feed to his guest during a plague.

He is patron saint of sailors and of children, and also the origin of Father Christmas- Santa Claus being a derivative of St Nicholas- an identification probably derived from his patronage of children and his charitable acts of presenting gifts by night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Great news!

Great news! Bev had her mammogram recheck today and everything is fine. Praise God! Bev shared with me that they actually ended up testing her twice this afternoon. They took the mammogram, checked the x-rays and then took a second mammogram. She had to be nervous. She said lots of women came and went, even women that were there for rechecks. For the other ladies, the nurse just walked out and said you're fine. But for Bev, the nurse came out and said the doctor wants to do a second x-ray. When the nurse came back after the second x-ray and told Bev everything was fine, she began to cry...tears of joy and relief. She was so happy that she even gave the nurse a big hug. I am guessing that Bev will sleep well tonight.

I am so thankful that the hospital was concerned enough for Bev to do such a thorough check. I am also so thankful that the news was great news! Thanks too for all of you who took time to pray for Bev! What a wonderful answer to prayer!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cristian, Nicolae and me...Together again!

Today's meeting went very well...eventually...hmmm ?!
I decided not to leave you in suspense, yet leave you wondering all at the same time.
Now for the details:
First, I lost 2 days of sleep just worrying and preparing. I made gifts for the foster moms and made sure I had plenty of the things to "entertain" the boys with. The last 4 days I have been practicing the "Five little ducks" song in Romanian. A fost greu putin pentru mine. It was a little hard for me. Pronouncing "Baby Ducks" in Romanian is hard. Ratuste Mititele...yikes... and it gets said so many times. So I resorted to pui de Rata instead.
Anyway, I got to Cristian's house about 10 minutes early. Nicolae and Carmen showed up shortly after that. I think the DPC ladies got there closer to 2, along with Elena, the translator.

At first, it was just Nicolae, Cristian and I playing with the "Barrel of Monkeys" I had brought. We had a great time. Cristian ended up with the most monkeys. He actually got 8 to stay on.While we were still playing the DPC Group got there. See picture(L to R) Liana is the one with the purse, then Ani (Cristian's foster mom),Carmen(Nicolae's foster mom) and Sylvia. Cristian and Nicolae. I didn't get a picture of Elena, the translator.

Sylvia is the psychologist and Liana is the social worker. When they first got there they had Nicolae and Cristian draw some pictures of a house and then a tree. hmmm. I learned a lot. Then Nicolae and Cristian started singing some songs and yikes! It was like someone had pushed the Silly Button. Cristian went into silly mode and it didn't take long for Nicolae to join in. I just kept praying, "God help me get through this". At this point, I thought I was doomed for sure.

Just imagine 5 other adults in the room, two who are "their parents", two who say yea or nay and a translator. (all of whom speak perfect Romanian) and me. None of them did anything to try and control Nicolae and Crisitan. Heck, and at that point, I wasn't even doing anything with the boys ,the social workers were.

The boys were running from room to room, screaming, yelling, totally out of control. They were slamming the door, turning the lights on and off. It was total mayhem. I am not exaggerating in the least. Again, the foster moms did nothing. I knew it was going to be up to me to get them under control.

So, while the rest of the "gang" hung out in one room, I was in the other "lights flashing on and off...wild kids" room. I just sat there and gave the teacher look and spoke softly and let them know that this wasn't getting it. Nicolae asked me if I was going to leave. He knows from previous times, that when he didn't behave, I left. I explained to both of them that if they didn't start behaving I would leave and we would have to try this again on a different day. I was very calm, soft voiced and they knew I meant it. ...At least I know Nicolae did. He was taking it seriously. Unfortunately, Cristian was still trying to entertain the "masses". I just stayed in the room with them until they were ready. Silence can be the best words sometimes. Anyway, I got them back in control....PRAISE GOD! I even had them apologize to everyone for their behavior. Sheessh...It was a nightmare. Not quite how my dreams went last night...that is for sure.

I decided that this was a good time to do the song "Five little ducks". I brought the ducks(I am so glad I made the decision to cut them out at home), popscicle sticks, tape, markers etc. Cristy "lost it" a couple of more times while coloring the ducks, but luckily I was able to get him under control.

I didn't sing the song because it doesn't work when being translated into Romanian, but I did tell the story while the boys acted it out.It was very interactive and I felt like it went well.
Elena the translator did help me out a bit, but over all it was just me. Yay.
Then we went outside and played at the park. I was so glad for this moment for sure.

While we were outside at the park , I got the chance to talk with the DPC ladies with the help of Elena. I even got brave enough to ask how things went today. What they thought etc.
They said right off that they thought it went very well. They loved the song and they even talked about how much Romanian I had learned. Of course I need to learn a lot more, but they were very happy with my progress. Get this, Liana even joked with me about using pui de rata instead of ratuste. Another yay moment. Practicing "The five little ducks" songs was such good idea. I was in control of the conversation, it was interactive and it came across like I knew lots of Romanian. Thank God.

They also shared that they boys wouldn't be living with me until January, so if I wanted , I could go home for Christmas. What?! I could hardly believe my ears! The boys would be living with me in January? Home for Christmas?! Yippeee Yahooooo.

I asked about what we were going to do the boys when school started back up because Cristy lives about an hour away from me and Nicolae 2o minutes in a different direction. Sylvia went on and on about how they shouldn't move from their schools. Too many changes etc. Maybe I could visit them during the afternoon and they would stay at their foster homes. What? Hey what happened to the happy moment, just minutes ago? You know, the boys would live with me moment? Then Liana shared that she felt that the boys didn't need to go to school. They should just live with me. After all I am a teacher and they could see from today that I would be good for the boys. They both agreed that it would be best for them to just be with me. Happy moment again.

They also shared with the foster moms that I need to be able to see the boys whenever I want.
I needed to be sure and see Cristian everyday this week. Then every other day or as often as I could with each of the boys after that.Carmen, Nicolae's foster mom told them that I see Nicolae a lot already. They asked me if this was true. I said I see him once every 2 or 3 weeks. They looked at me and winked. They already knew this was the case, but this isn't going to be the case anymore. In fact, they also shared with the group that they expect me to check in with the DPC every couple of days and let them know how my visits are going with the boys. I know they said this because that they wanted to make sure that the foster moms knew that they would be checking up on them.

I am sure that I am leaving out some details, but I am exhausted, both mentally and physically. I will sleep well tonight!

Today was not smooth sailing, that is for sure. In fact, I thought the ship was sinking at times. Thankfully though, it all worked out, in spite of the mayhem moments.

Thanks for all your prayers....Tonight it is praises all around. Oh and please continue to pray for Bev and her new mammogram test tomorrow.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I have another meeting with the DPC tomorrow!

Hey there...
I wanted to let you all know that I have another meeting tomorrow with DPC 2 at 1:30 in the afternoon.(That is 3:30 am, Monday morning for you Californians.) We are meeting at Cristian's house. Nicolae and his foster mom will meet us there as well. So, I will get to see both the boys. Yippeeee. I haven't seen them together since last Jan. Nicolae and Cristian haven't seen each other since then either and that was the first and only time they have met!

While I am happy to get to see Cristian and Nicolae, I am really nervous. The DPC ladies are having this meeting to see how well I speak and understand Romanian. They made of point of saying it was more than having a good relationship with the boys. They seem to know how to suck the joy right out of everything.

Anyway, I can already tell I am nervous. I have felt nervous all day today. So, please pray.
-Pray that my time with Nicolae and Cristian would be absolutely wonderful.
-Pray too that I would be able to relax and be myself. That I would give all of my nervousness and worries over to God and know that He is in control.
-Pray too that the DPC ladies would be compassionate and understanding and that they would be left with no doubts that Cristian, Nicolae and I should be together as a family.

Sheesh...I am nervous! I can feel it even as I am writing this blog. God calm my heart!

Here are couple of pictures for you to enjoy. Are they brothers or what? They have so many of the same expressions.

FYI These pictures were taken about a week apart...this November.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A few more pictures of Cristian

More pictures of Cristian...

Cristian and Gabi(foster brother)

Cristian with his foster mom, Ani. Having fun in the kitchen.

Cristian and Vali(tata)

Cristian is putting on his new boots. The pullover he has on was Tomas and Daniel's when they were his age. Cute.

A cute picture of Cristian in the car. They drove me to the tram because they didn't want me to have to walk alone in the dark. So sweet!

Another visit with Cristian

I went to see Cristian again this afternoon! I got to spend three hours with him. It was very nice. His foster mom Ani is so sweet. His foster brother Gabi was there too. He showed me some pictures of Cristian on his computer. He sent me one of "Cristy" from this past September. Crisitan was part of the wedding party for Flori's wedding. She is his foster sister.
He is so handsome.

I took a coloring book today with some groovy crayons. They look like a pencil and can be adjusted like a mechanical pencil. Cristian loved them.
He colored a picture of a flower in a pot for me. He started to color the sky brown... which turned into a tree with apples. He was very proud of himself and was happy that I was going to put it on the refrigerator at my house.

Ani, Cristian's foster mom, and I did pretty good talking with each other. We had to be rescued by her son Gabi a few times, but not bad over all. I brought my English/Romanian dictionary which helped.
Ani is so sweet. She loves Cristian so much. She asked about the adoption and when I would have Nicoale and Cristian in my apt. and when we would go to America. I could only guess really, but gave her what information I knew. She shared that maybe in a couple of years she could come to the states to visit Cristian. Not right away, because she wants Cristian to bond with me first, but she would love to come. (Gabi helped us through this conversation) She also reminded me that whenever I come back to Romania...even if it isn't with Cristian, to please visit her and even stay with her. So sweet. Gabi shared how much they love Cristian and that it will be hard, but his mom really wants him to be with me and have a chance to live in America. She is happy and sad at the same time. I so get this. My heart goes out to her for sure.
I know the reason Cristian is so comfortable with me is because of her. She is an amazing person.

Carmen, Nicolae's foster mom is a different story. I called again today to see about spending time with Nicolae and her response was, ...let's wait until Monday when we have meeting with the DPC and Cristian. I guessed that is what she would say. I asked if I could see him before this meeting. Marius said they would call me on Friday to let me know. I am not counting on them actually calling though. It has already been 11 days since I saw him last and now I have to wait 6 more days...grrr. oh well...I need to be thankful for the times she does allow me to see him. "Unofficially".

So anyway....I got a few good pictures of Cristian tonight and will try to send some more in the next couple of days.

I want to thank all of you who have continued to write me, support me, pray for me. I know it has been a long journey and many of you have continued to be there for me through all of this.
Multumesc Foarte mult. Thank you very much.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A slide show of Cristian

Yesterday's visit with Cristian still brings a smile to my face.
I think the pictures show how truly wonderful it was.

Friday, November 23, 2007

My visit with Cristian

My visit with Cristian went very well. Sara went with me to translate. Yay!Cristian is such an adorable little boy. Even though I haven't seen him since January, it was like he didn't even have to have time to "warm up" to me. It was as if we had just seen each other last week. He of course wanted to know why Nicolae wasn't with me. He asked where my son was...cute. He is just a little shorter than Nicolae, but quite a bit thinner. Ani, his foster mom, shared that he is one of the tallest kids in his class and that he does very well in school. She shared some school photos and had him sing a couple of songs to me too. Adorable. Cristian is very cuddly and playful. We had the greatest time getting to know each other better. I got to spend about 2 hrs. with him today . And...I get to see him again this next Tuesday. Yipppeeee! In fact, Ani told me that I can come whenever I want. Just call first and make sure they are home. I asked if she would be ok if I came by myself and she was fine with that. She was sure that we could figure out what each of us was trying to say. So sweet. I am already looking forward to next Tuesday.
I took about 25 pictures today and a couple of videos too. I will try and send some more pictures later.
....smiles...smiling....and more smiling....and still smiling. It was a great afternoon.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I spent the afternoon with Sara and her family. We had a lot of traditional fixins. We had mashed potatoes, stuffing, salad and cranberry sauce chilled and right from the can. (yum)
We had chicken instead of turkey. Way cheaper an it tasted great. The chickens were stuffed and cooked just like a turkey would be. Karen, Sarah's mom, cooked three of them.
Oh and pumpkin pie with whipped cream... my favorite.

The photo: (l to r Back row)
Me, Karen, Sarah, Kentucky Karen, Sarah's Dad Ross

Front row: Luiza, Justin and Dan.

GOOD NEWS!!!! I get to see Cristian tomorrow! Sarah is going to go with me to translate.
Yay. I will try to take some pictures!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

God's way of saying "Have a nice day!"

A friend shared this amazing photo with me and I thought it was worth sharing with all of you.

Have a wonderful day...

A slideshow of Nicolae!

Last night I got to spend about 3 hrs. with Nicolae at Beti's party. Below is a slideshow of the pictures I took of him. The guy in the one photo with Nicolae is Justin. He is Sara's fiance.
It was a fun time!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Beti's party was great!

Beti's party went well. It was wonderful spending time with Nicolae. It was also nice that some of my friends here finally got to meet him. Everyone was so sweet and went out of their way to make Carmen, Marius and Nicolae feel welcome.
Nicolae behaved very well and you could tell he had a nice time. Carmen and Marius enjoyed themselves as well. It was a good evening for sure.

Cute moment: Luiza, Sara's daughter, came up to me at one point, just out of the blue and said, "Debbie, I really like Nicolae. He is a nice boy"...and then off she ran to continue playing. Very sweet.

Another cute moment: When it was time for the cake everyone started singing to Beti. Nicolae was all ready to sing his heart out. However, they began with a different Romanian birthday song. It was a slow song and not what Nicolae and I were expecting. Nicolae looked up at me with that look of ...hey this isn't the right song. When they finished singing that song, everybody sang "Happy Birthday" in English. Again Nicolae looked at me. When we all finished singing "Happy Birthday", Nicolae and I looked at each other and winked. We started clapping and then every one joined in and sang "La Multi Ani". You could tell by Nicoale's face that now the birthday singing was complete. So cute.

Great moments, great pictures and great memories. God is good.

My new dryer

Hi everyone,
I wanted you all to see my new dryer! Having a place to hang my clothes inside does help my clothes dry faster. Yay!
Tonight is Beti's birthday party AND Nicolae, Marius and Carmen are still planning to come. I am going to head over to their apt. in about an hour or so. I am so looking forward to spending some more time with Nicolae. Please pray for our time together. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My 2nd meeting with the DPC

My second meeting with the DPC went well. I just went with the idea that they are on my side and that they have to ask all these questions, not to reject me, but to write a good report so that I can adopt Nicolae and Cristian. It was good to have this frame of mind.

Liana, one of the social workers, was the first to show up. Sylvia was running late due to another meeting she had. One of the first things Liana shared was that she wants our fourth meeting to be with Nicolae and Cristian at my apt. Happy me. I am a bit nervous of course, but very excited too.

Elena the translator and Sylvia showed up shortly after Liana had arrived. We talked about my the picuture I drew of my family. Who they are, how did Dad, Pam and Teri become part of my family. We talked about mom, Bev, Jack. We talked about what happened with my biological dad. We talked about Troy, Steven, and Brian. We talked about Tomas and Daniel too. It took a while to explain everything. It was another 3 hr. meeting. Sheesh. Overall though, I felt really good about the meeting.

We are scheduled to meet again next Monday at 1pm. We are suppose to talk about Nicolae and Cristian then.

Thanks again for all your prayers and I would ask for you to please continue praying as I move forward with adopting Nicolae and Cristian.

Oh and this Friday, Karen is having a birthday party for her daughter Beti. And Carmen, Nicolae's foster mom, actually agreed to come with Nicoale to the party. I am meeting them(Carmen, Nicolae and Marius) at their house, so we can all go together. Happy me.

A cute moment:
It was so cute, when I left Nicolae on Monday night he said"I know, I know, we will see you again next week". To which I responded. No, I will see you this Friday night for a birthday party! (all in Romanian of course) . The look of happy surprise on his face was priceless. He responded with, "I love you very much". (In English) So cute.

FYI...Karen is from Kentucky and is also adopting. She is going through all the same stuff I am and more. Please keep her and Beti in your prayers. It has not been easy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I got to see Nicolae this afternoon!

I got to see Nicolae this afternoon for about 1 1/2 hrs. We went to the park. We(Carmen, Marius, Nicolae and me) walked around a bit and looked at some pictures of Marius' field trip. Then Nicolae and I spent the rest of the time chasing each other, hugging each other and taking some silly pictures. This was one of my favorites.
It was a bit chilly outside and it wasn't a long visit, but it was great seeing Nicolae again. He now knows how to count to 10 in English no problem and he recently learned Mother, Father, boy and girl. He also has figured out the difference between good morning and good bye, which is good. He so wants to be able to speak with me in English. Oh and he sang a couple of songs that he learned at Romanian of course. I didn't understand all of it ...unfortunately.
It is so disappointing for me. He sings his little heart out, which in itself is adorable, but I so wish I could understand the songs as well. Maybe soon. I am getting better everyday. Unfortunately, I still have a long way to go.
Anyway, it was a great afternoon.
p.s. He only has one glove on because he just got done taking a silly picture of me and he couldn't push the buttons with it on.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Toys for Nicolae and Cristian

I wanted to show all of you the new toy area in my apartment. Pastor Shane and Randie donated most of the toys you see here.They are Brennan's toys that they don't have room to take back to the states.
I love having the a place to organize all of them. I know that Nicolae and Cristian will enjoy playing with all the "new" toys. There is a play hut, leap frog interactive toys, cars, trucks, puzzles, legos...etc.
I feel so blessed! Thank you Shane, Randie and Brennan!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sara is officially Luiza's mom!

Sara just called. She is now officially Luiza's mom. Praise God!
Great news for her!
Now she needs to work on getting Luiza's visa and then finally heading to the states.
Thanks to all of you who have been praying.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A happy computer moment !

I got to skype with my sister and see her too. My camera is working once again. I am so looking forward to talking with my mom and dad tonight. We will actually get to see each other. I am looking forward to talking with my brother Jack as well. :D A happy computer moment!

My computer working again!!!

Wahoo! Shane brought the computer part for me and my computer is working again! Sunt fericita! I am happy! And...after watching Diane replace this for me once before, I was able to replace it myself. Oh, how wonderful it is to have my computer up and running again...especially being so far from home. Yay!

Monday, November 5, 2007

My meeting today with DPC

Hi all...My meeting today went well, good...ok. . It was very official like. Difficult actually. Both Liana and Sylvia came though...which was nice. They are the same two ladies who met with me when I saw Nicolae and Cristian in Januray. I was very glad it wasn't just Liana.
I like my interpreter. She is young and very nice.
We met for 2 1/2 hrs. today. I am exhausted mentally.

Here is some specifics:

First they started with how the procedure works. Up to 2 months for this process, then a court date, then the boys for 3 months and possibly longer, then lots of paperwork, then another court date, then more paperwork...Then the judges decision...who knows how long this will take? They did all they could to make it sound difficult, hard and crappy. Of course they shared about the whole adoption expereince, the government in Romania, everything...expessed in the worst case scenario possible. It was hard.

I just kept praying to myself that God is in control and that I can only take each day as He gives it to me. They went on with "It could take three years....blah, blah, blah,..and I just listened. They asked what I would do etc. I simply shared that I hope it doesn't take that long and that I would have to make that decision when the time comes.

They asked me about my family, why I wanted to adopt, why didn't I have children the regular way? I did my best to explain. The whole I am not married. I have already gone through menopause...etc. Medically, I am not able to have children etc.
They asked why I chose to come to Romania in the first place. Why did I choose here to adopt? I am wondering that myself.:D
It is more like Romania chose me.

Then they asked about my religion. They were afraid since the boys are Orthodox that they wouldn't be accepted in my "church community". They even asked if I had planned to raise them in an Orthodox church because they have both been baptized Orthodox. "Ah I don't ." I didn't answer them like this, but it was certainly what I was thinking. The problem is that here in Romania being Orthodox is who you are....whether you really have a relationship with God or not.

Of course I am not planning to raise the boys in an Orthodox church, so it took a while to work through this. However, once they realized that being a Christian wasn't about what church you belonged to, but rather your relationship with God, they seemed better. When they also realized that my whole family or every friend I have, didn't attend my same church (Still focused on either you are Orthodox or you are not) and that we still all get along well...they were very understanding then.It was a tough issue for sure.
For them...
It would be like a Protestant marrying into an Orthodox family. Not something that is easily accepted. So it was a long conversation for them to figure out the Nicolae and Cristian wouldn't be "outsted" because of "their religion".

We also talked about my job as a teacher and if would I be willing to give it up...depending on how looooong things took. I tell you they made it hard from the very start of the meeting.

I know you all know this... Nothing about this adoption has been easy and I can only take one day at a time. Bigger chunks are too overwhelming. I will know whether or not I actually adopt Nicoale and Cristian when it happens.

Anyway, we moved on and things lightened up a bit. I just kept saying "breath prayers" throughout the whole meeting. "God give me the words" "God give me the strength". etc.

Then they had me draw some pictures. First, I had to draw a tree. Then a picture of a person.I drew a girl. Then another person, but the opposite sex of the person I drew before. So, I drew a boy. I drew lots of details. I learned from Darci, our psychologist at school, that the more details you drew the better. It was a sign of intelligence. I did my best to be "intelligent".
Actually, they really liked my pictures and commented on the details of them. Thanks Darci.

After 2 1/2 hrs. of answering questions and things, the meeting was finally over. After the meeting was over, they reminded me that these meetings are a chance for them to get to know me better and that I don't need to worry. They also shared again how impressed they were over our meeting last time with the boys. It is a process and they are wanting it to work out too. It is still hard though. It is hard not to feel judged when you know they are the ones who ultimately say yes or no.
Anyway, if I had to give today's meeting a grade, I guess I'd give it a B. I am glad the first meeting is over. Hopefully, we won't have to have a total of 6 of them. We shall see.

We meet again next Tuesday at 2:30 so feel free to start praying now.

Thanks again for all of you have been praying throughout this whole adventure. It has certainly been a long haul.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Livermore Team!

What a blessing it was to meet Gail, Sandi... aka... "Disneyland Family's Mom" and Tricia. In the picture, from left to right, it is
Gail, me, Sandi and Tricia.
It was so great to finally have a chance to spend some time with Sandi and getting to know her a bit more. The 10 minutes of shock while chatting with her, her son Troy and Melinda at Disneyland, while still trying to figure out how they knew I wanted to adopt Nicolae, while great, didn't give us much of a chance to get to know each other.
Luckily I got to spend a couple of evenings with Gail, Sandi and Tricia during their time here.. They are all amazing people and have such a heart for Romania. They have all been here several times, but this was the first time I have actually got to meet them.
Thanks Gail for the cookie dough. I have already used both packages. In fact, I just got done baking. I am planning on serving cookies tomorrow during my first DPC meeting at my house. Hey, whatever it takes!My second batch turned out better than the first. :D Figuring out just the right setting for burning, I mean baking , is tricky.
Anyway, thanks!
Tricia...The newly cleaned clothes look great on the line...I look forward to being able to wear them someday soon. "The sun will come out tomorrow...." hopefully....:D Thanks again!
And Sandi, thank you soooo much for your wonderful gift as well. Thanks doesn't seem enough.
I will let you know how tomorrow goes with Liana, the social worker from the DPC and the interpreter. I am not sure if I have her name right. It is either Alina or Eleana.
Gail, Sandi and Tricia...Thanks again to all three of you. It was a blessing getting to know you. I look forward to the day when we(Nicolae, Cristian and I) can come visit you all in Livermore. Or...the three of you can come visit us, well since Gail is now living somewhere else!
I hope your little vacation in Amsterdam went well and that you all arrive home safely.
Please keep in touch!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I have a washing machine!

Yay, I have a washing machine! I did my first load of laundry tonight. The washer is 40 cm x 60 cm x 85 cm. For all your who just felt your brain flatline, it is about 1.5 ft x 2 ft x 3ft. FYI...I looked it up on the internet!
Pastor Shane and his family have decided to stay in the states, so they are selling their furniture and things here in Romania. I was lucky enough to be able to get the washer. It was a great deal 125ron which is about 55 usd. The cheapest I have seen in the stores here is about 300 usd. So I feel very fortnuate.
Actually I was more than fortunate... thanks Tricia! I owe all my clean clothes to you! It is amazing how something as simple as washing my clothes in a washing machine and not the tub, can be so wonderful. I feel so blessed!
Now in about 3 days, after they finally dry, I will actually be able to wear them.:D
Anyway, I just wanted to share my wonderful new washing machine with all of you.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Monday's Meeting with the DPC!

Monday at 1:30 is my first meeting with Liana, the social work, from the DPC. This is the first of six meetings that I have scheduled with her. We will be meeting at my apartment and I'd have to say that I am a bit nervous.

Liana will be the one, basically, who deteremines if I am fit to be a foster mom and if I will be able to eventually adopt. I don't really have a "read" on her yet. Everyone else at the DPC, I feel, is supportive of me. I have no idea with Liana. God fill her with compassion.

I have a translator coming on Monday too. Please pray that she would be somebody I feel comfortable with and that she can convey not only my words to Liana, but my passion as well.

Please pray too that I would, "say the right things" and that Liana would see my heart. That she would see the love I have for Nicolae and Cristian and see all that I have to offer them.(Unconditional love, a family, stability, consistency, self-esteem, education, a home(figuratively and literally speaking)...all the things that come with being a mom.

Thanks for your prayers!
I will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trick or Treat!

Getting to see Nicolae last night was definitely a treat! I only got to spend about 5 -10 minutes with him and we spent all of our time right there on the steps. But, it was worth every minute! Praise God for this blessing. It is not always easy being here, but seeing Nicolae last night certainly helped. "il iubesc pe Nicole foarte mult"...I love him so much.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My meeting today with DPC Sector 2

I turned in my paperwork today. Everything was good. They seemed pleasantly surprised that I had completed all of it so quickly and that everything was in order.
Next week I will begin meeting with the one of the social workers from DPC at my apartment. We will meet for an hour every Monday, for the next 6 weeks. Please pray that I will be able to find an "official translator". I have to have one for these meetings because my Romanian isn't good enough...yet.
Oh well ...what hoop? how high? After the six weeks they will set a court date for being an adoptive parent and then ...maybe , finally, I will get to visit the boys and have them in my house. I am guessing sometime in January.
Yes, It is still hard, harder and really hard, but at least
I am moving forward and my paperwork "passed"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Still riding roller coasters ....aaaahhhhh!

Well, I didn't get to turn in my papers on Friday. Mr. Moncau and I went to the DPC, but we found out that they close at 2 on Fridays. There was nothing we could have done though. We couldn't pick up the report from the police department until 2:30. So, I will go back to the DPC on Monday. Please pray that everything is complete and that they will process it quickly. At least I have the papers all ready! Hopefully.
Yesterday afternoon, I called to see about visting with Nicole this weekend, but the answer was "no". Carmen was to busy. She had to cook for her dad and well Marius was going to the mountains with his class. Last I remember, I was going to see Nicolae. grrr. So goes yet another week without seeing my boys.
God give me strength to get through this roller coaster ride.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tomorrow is a big day!

Tomorrow is a big day. I am turning in all my paperwork for my atestat. Which means I am turning in the paperwork I need to be declared a foster mom. My prayer is that I have everything they asked for and that it is correct. I know I have done everything that was on the list they gave me, but I am finding out that they doesn't really matter. However, I am the only one that I know of, that actually got a list of what is required. So I am hopeful.

I got the list on Monday afternoon and I am thrilled that I will have everything done by tomorrow. Yesterday was my longest day. I started at 8:30 am and didn't stop until 8pm. Walking, walking, walking, metro, more walking, yipes I am lost. Still walking now, but faster. "Lord help me find the hospital". Yipes! I had to get there before 10 am. More walking. Hey thanks for giving me the wrong directions "helpful lady" ....followed by more fast walking, sweating and praying. Yay, I finally make it to the hospital. I think sweat pouring down my face with my hair plastered to my forehead screams suitable adoptive parent!Don't you? That is what a simple 15 minute walk from the metro, 40 minutes later, will do to you.

When I got there they took a chest x-ray, some blood tests and my blood pressure. The doctor seemed impressed. She told me that my blood pressure was excellent. I was thinking...I guess hiking Bucharest everyday will do that for you! Thankfully they didn't take my pulse rate.") She filled out a medical background form as well. It was all in Romanian. It was cute. She answered all the questions for me. I without my help. "Diabetic? no. Smoker?no".... every once in a while she actually stopped to ask me. It made me smile. She told me that I would have to come back again at 6:30 pm to get the results and to have my psychiatric evaluation. But not without paying first.

Afterwards, Back to walking some more, two metros and more walking to meet up with Sara at the translation office to get my Declaratie. It is a paper that states I am single and no I don't have any children. Of couse I needed to have an official translator and the document legalized.

I thanked Sara for helping me and then I was off to the Victor Gomoiu hospital to pick up a character reference from Julie, which required of course more walking, another metro and yet more walking.

Then I met up with Mr. Moncanu to get my apt contract legalized at the notary office. Yes guessed it... walking, followed by the tram and shocker...a ride from Mr. Moncanu. I forked over more $$$ at the notary office and then headed back to the hospital to have my psychiatric evaluation test done and to pick up my lab results.

My psychiatric evaluation almost made me laugh outloud. No kidding. I may have spent 5 minutes with the doctor. I walked in and sat down. He said, "So you are adjusting well to Romania". He said it like a statement, but I answered yes anyway. "You want to adopt". Again, he said it like a statement. I threw in that yes I want to adopt two boys. He then asked me if I had any experience with children and I told him that I have been a teacher for 22 years. He repeated."22 years". Then...the big tricky see if someone is really psychotic part ...drum roll please....He said,"Stick out you hands in front of you like this". Which I did. Then he responded with "Perfect" Followed by "I have finished my evaluation. You can pick up your document at the counter".
Glad I didn't hold my hands out to the side or something.:) I was happy to find out that I wasn't psychotic and that my medical papers were done.

Finally, I began my hour long trek home. It reminds me of living in Modesto, where we seem to be 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. away from the city, the mountains and the ocean. I am about an hour away from everything here. I was so happy to finally get home. I was exhausted. zzzzz That was just yesterday. My whole week went like this.

I had a total of 10 things to get completed. Tomorrow I will pick up my police background check clearance and then turn everything in at the DPC in the afternoon.
Please pray that it will all go well and that I will get my court date soon and be declared Nicolae and Cristian's foster mom.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Family Weekend at Wofford College

Here is a recent picture of Tomas and Bev. Bev went to see Tomas at Wofford College in South Carolina during "Family Weekend". Bev stayed with Troy and Lisa.Troy is our brother. Teri,our sister,drove from Mississippi to be there for"Family Weekend" as well. Bev and Tomas both said it was a wonderful weekend. Their smiling faces say it all.